Monday, 16 September 2019

A Glasgow bonus - street art

Glasgow is a city on the move. Friendly folk with fire in their bellies.

With a buzzy vibe and hundreds of historic buildings, Scotland’s biggest city also has a surprise for visitors with a range of street art to be savoured.

Keep your eyes peeled as you stroll the city streets.

# The writer is a guest of and the Moxy Hotel, Glasgow.  

Sunday, 15 September 2019

Look out USA - Australia has wine to sell you

Wine Australia has launched its largest-ever promotion of Australian wine in the United States. 

The Far From Ordinary campaign is supported by the Australian Government’s $50 million Export and Regional Wine Support Package. 

The $8 million campaign to start later this week is promoted as a key milestone in the fourth and final year of the $50m Package, integrating three years of targeted marketing strategy into a single campaign.

New Yorkers will be treated to three nights of Australian wine celebrations at the Union West in Chelsea this week. The invitation-only Australian Women in Wine Awards will recognise the work of women in the Australian wine community and the Far From Ordinary consumer events aim to highlight the current Australian wine scene.

Wine Australia’s first ever New to Market Showcase in New York on September 18 will connect a select group of USA importers and distributors with 18 Australian wineries looking to gain a presence in the market. 

Starting on September 19, over 100 Australian exhibitors will showcase their fine wines to the American wine trade as part of a six-city roadshow visiting New York, Chicago,  Miami, Dallas, Los Angeles and San Francisco. The roadshow will feature trade tastings, educational seminars and importer/distributor networking opportunities, and is expected to attract up to 2,500 attendees across the six cities.

The Far From Ordinary campaign will culminate with 100 American wine influencers – sommeliers, wine writers and other industry members – gathering at Lake Tahoe, California.

Wine Australia Chief Executive Officer Andreas Clark said: “The US remains the world’s largest and most attractive market.

“Its estimated retail value of US$38 billion is more than double that of second-placed China.

‘This Far From Ordinary campaign invites USA trade, media and consumers to experience a side of Australian wine that they never knew existed.”

‘While Australian wine exports to the USA grew 2 per cent to $432 million in the year ended June 2019, much work remains to increase our market share in the world’s biggest market.”

Saturday, 14 September 2019

A celebratory dinner in Norwich

There are dozens of Indian restaurants in Norwich, the beautiful county town of the English county of Norfolk.

The one that comes highly recommended is the Merchants of Spice, tucked away in one of the city’s many lanes.

I tried to eat here on Thursday night - but it was fully booked.

Likewise on Saturday as locals were celebrating their football team’s win over English champions Manchester City.

I waited until quite late to get a slot and was rewarded with slick service, a buzzy atmosphere and some outstanding tucker.

A few images to whet your appetite. All nicely spicy but well balanced and a mixture of North and South Indian dishes from chicken tikka to prawn malabar and garlic naan.

Thursday, 12 September 2019

Hip new hangout for Perth

First it was the Gold Coast, now Perth is to get a Hyde Kitchen + Cocktails outlet - the joint venture between sbe and Accor Hotels.
The venue will open in the new The Adnate hotel this October. 

Accor Chief Operating Officer Pacific Simon McGrath said: “We partnered with sbe to launch our first Hyde venue earlier this year on the Gold Coast and this opening is very much on the back of the success of this.” 

McGrath, believes Hyde Perth Kitchen + Cocktails will take Perth's restaurant and bar scene to a new level, adding:  “It won't be like anything else in Perth and is destined to become a favourite for Perth locals, due to its unique offering and central Hay Street location, as well as domestic and international visitors to the city.”

Sam Nazarian, founder and CEO of sbe, said: “I and my team at sbe are extremely excited to see the HYDE brand grow in Australia with our partner Accor. This second opening is part of our international strategy to expand our hotel, residential, culinary and entertainment brands across the globe in collaboration with Accor.”

Hyde Perth Kitchen + Cocktails will boast an outdoor pool, sun loungers and DJ decks. 

The Hyde brand is known for its venues in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Miami.


Woolworths swoops to buy Chapel Hill

In what was one of the worst-kept secrets in the wine industry, Wooworths-owned Endeavour Drinks has bought award-winning McLaren Vale winery Chapel Hill for an undisclosed sum.

In a deal predicted several weeks ago by Wine Business Magazine, Chapel Hill joins Krondorf (Barossa Valley), Isabel Estate (Marlborough) and Riddoch (Coonawarra) under the Paragon Wine Brands umbrella.

Chapel Hill was acquired from Swiss investors and is best known for producing The Vicar and The Parson shirazes among a fine range, had been sold through Endeavour Drinks as well as through cellar door sales and exports for several years.

“We have been selling a lot of Chapel Hill wine over the last five years – our customers love it – and it’s a lovely complement to a portfolio of really important brands that we’re privileged to have in our suite of brands,” Endeavour Drinks managing director Steve Donohue said.

Chapel Hill’s chief winemaker and chief executive Michael Fragos said the existing team would stay with the company and relationships with grape growers would not change.

Eggcellent news for gourmets

Imagine a machine that makes perfect scrambled eggs in a minute?

Or a companion device that produces perfect boiled eggs every time.

After more than 10 years of research, the Dutch company Eggciting Products has successfully developed two devices that can perform those tasks.

The And in addition to the time saving and energy saving, the devices make an important contribution to combating food waste. 

Thinks of the average breakfast buffet in a hotel: the boiled egg is never cooked exactly as you want it and the scrambled eggs are drying under the heat lamps and don't look or taste like fresh eggs.

Also, after the last guests have eaten, the remaining eggs are often thrown away.

"This needs to change," thought the Dutch CEO of Eggciting, Marcel Bivert. He brought together a team of engineers, people from the hotel industry and a food manufacturing company. The result: two patented devices that are as simple as they are ingenious; The Eggcheff.

Consumers can easily and safely operate The Eggcheff devices by themselves. With only a touch of a button on the Eggcheff Cooker, hungry folk can choose between a soft, medium or hard-boiled egg.

The Eggcheff Cooker brings the cooking time of an egg from twelve minutes down to one which has never been done before, it is claimed.

The Eggcheff Scrambled automatically cooks and mixes the eggs and even adds a spork to the cup or mug to take away. Fresh ingredients like tomato, bell pepper, onion and cheese can be added and cooked to preference.

"All of this in a minute. In the same time that you wait for your coffee," explains Bivert. The Scrambled Eggcheff doesn't only make personalised scrambled eggs with fresh ingredients but can also cook other breakfast foods such as oats, egg whites and other healthy options.
The devices developed by Eggciting Products use a new patented hybrid heating technique that is promoted as "the most energy efficient way to cook eggs".

The Eggcheff devices will be unveiled in October.


Wednesday, 11 September 2019

What the hell have they done with Brussels?

Brussels is/was one of the most imposing cities in Europe. 

The Belgian capital is/was full of impressive old buildings, delightful small shops, cafes and bars and quiet pedestrian walkways. So much more than a statue of a small boy urinating.

Or it used to be. 

Today it is full of road closures, renovations, major building works and noise - lots of noise. 

Whichever city father, or mother, who allowed so much work to go on at the same time needs to hang their head in shame. 

From the Gare du Midi to the Grand Place, Brussels is a city in transition. Best to visit when all the work has been done. If that ever happens. 

I strolled the city today looking for eye-catching sites. There are still plenty among the chaos, but the city is, unfortunately, a sad shell of its former glory.